Never burn a bridge

Regardless of your specific industry, I have found that each industry is very small.  I’m sure you have experienced “it’s a small world” in both your personal and business life.  How can there be so many people in this world but you find yourself running into specific people over and over again.

I’ve been in the Commercial Real Estate industry for 30 years and I can honestly say I have run into so many situations where it could have been very awkward if I had acted differently in a situation.   It’s common knowledge in the CRE industry that you never know if you will be one day working for someone in the future due to the way building management and ownership changes hands all the time.

I always remind people, especially the younger professionals in the industry, to never burn a bridge if they want to stay in the industry.  It’s important to stay professional and deal with the situation no matter how uncomfortable it may be.  When I was younger in the industry, the building I was managing was appointed a Receiver and I had to give the Receiver my keys to the building and all of my files.  If you are a Property Manager you know you become attached to a building and take these things personally.  I handed my keys and files over to the Receiver and made sure my personal feelings about the situation stayed in my car and not in his office!  Several years later, I was interviewing for a new job and guess who I found myself across the desk from?  Yes, this appointed Receiver!  He remembered me and also remembered how I stayed professional during this uncomfortable business interaction.  He admired my professionalism and hired me for the job.  You just never know what the future holds.

There are certain things that are important in keeping positive relationships with people in your industry.  When you are offered a position and you accept, stick to your decision.  If you later change your mind because you receive a counter-offer by your current employer, you may have just potentially burned a bridge.  It does not look good in the eyes of the future employer and has potentially altered your relationship with your current employer.  When you leave, it is important to give a proper 2 week notice (or more sometimes) to your employer and give them some type of explanation as to why you are leaving.  Don’t go into too much detail, but it is common courtesy to say if you found a new job, you are relocating out of the area, personal reasons, etc.  I recently heard about an employee that after two months decided to give notice via email and say they were resigning effective immediately.   When the employer asked why, the employee wouldn’t give an answer. The employer tried to figure out what happened – was it her? the company? anything they could have done to make things better? – but the employee would only say it wasn’t the company or her boss but she was going to leave immediately and refused to give any type of reason.  That type of behavior is not acceptable in a professional environment and unfortunately, that may burn bridges for them in the industry in the future.

Be careful if you are unhappy with your current company but still love the industry you are in. When you find a new job, be sure to give notice in a professional manner.  You will then find yourself building bridges, not burning them and will be able to stay in the industry you love for years to come.

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